Week eight: ups and downs

What a strange week this one’s been – again. After last week’s lengthy rant about the possibility of lifting lockdown shortly before Johnson’s pre-recorded ‘address’, we’ve all been stuck in a weird confused limbo which hasn’t really been clarified by various press conferences and guidelines. We are staying safe at home still, as that seems the most sensible thing to do at the moment. And don’t even get me started on school reopenings…

All three children (and I) have had a wobble at some point this week. It’s been important for us all to recognise that this is not a normal time, and that it’s OK to be able to put our hands up and say ‘right, I am not coping today’ and to retire to the sofa. Thing 2 had a meltdown on Thursday when it became clear that the family holiday in Wales was going to have to be cancelled and we wouldn’t be seeing the cousins and the grandparents this summer, let alone the aunties and uncles. My parents live in France and my youngest sister in Northern Ireland, so getting everyone together every couple of years is something we all look forward to. Thing 1 is missing her friends and has lost motivation, and Thing 3 is not sleeping well and is having trouble focusing. He enjoys learning and the stimulation of the classroom, as well as being with his peers. Being stuck at home with his big sisters isn’t a lot of fun, he tells me.

My own meltdown was Tuesday. I couldn’t wake up, and spent the day feeling as if I was wading through treacle. I didn’t even pick up a crochet hook or a needle which, if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know is pretty unusual for me. I lay on the sofa, read a book, and napped through the afternoon before feeding the family things from the freezer for dinner. I’ve learned over the last twenty years or so of periodic depression that some days are bad days, and there’s often no rhyme or reason for it. I’m not in a period where the first thing I do when I wake up is do a mental check to see if I’m OK, thank heavens, but there’s still the odd downturn. I take Citalopram, like many other people like me, and that seems to keep me pretty level most of the time.

What about the rest of the week?

Luckily up days outnumbered down, and despite a few frosty mornings I’ve been able to get out walking every other day. I’ve been varying my route only slightly, by taking the odd different path, but mostly I’ve stuck to a wide semi-circle around the village which takes in fields, woods, a farm and – one day – the golf course. The pink flowers are coming into bloom now alongside the white and yellow, and one early morning I saw three hares. There are coot chicks on the ponds, and the sound of skylarks in one particular field on the stretch of Essex Way I cover is glorious.

Today we went on a bike ride round my usual route – all five of us! – and were lucky enough to run into friends. It was so good to have a conversation with other adults – albeit from a distance! The kids had enormous fun in the giant climbing oak on Friday too, when we dragged them out of their pits for a walk.

Things 2 and 3 – monkeys in a tree again

My sock fixation has continued, and I finished the pair that had me cursing last week because I wasn’t reading the pattern properly. They’re very pretty, and quite lacy – it’ll be a shame to put shoes over them!

I’ve managed some sewing too. After last weekend’s organising of patterns and fabric, I was able to grab the kits I wanted and get straight on – apart from with the True Bias Shelby Dress, which I cut out and then discovered I didn’t have any interfacing! Annoying, as this was the one I really wanted to make!

Virtually everything else has been using jersey and other stretch fabrics, for which I bless my overlocker. The first thing was the Jump Up Suit by Alice and Co, which is yet another item in my collection of work appropriate pyjamas. I made this in a grey Ponte Roma fabric, and before cutting I took 6 inches off the legs (and another three when I hemmed it!) and lengthened the waist by a couple of centimetres which I then ended up taking out again. I CANNOT get the hang of blind hemming, so couldn’t do the pretty scalloped neckline, so after much swearing I ended up doing a rolled hem on the overlocker which still seems to work. I can see this being much worn…

Alice and Co Patterns Jump Up Suit

I used scraps of jersey fabric to make the Watson bra by Cloth Habit – a toile, really, to practise new techniques and to check the fit. Apart from needing to pull in the elastic under the arms, it’s pretty much a perfect fit and the pattern instructions really do guide you through the process step by step. As I was working on smalls, I also whipped up a pair of Superhero Boxers by MBJM Patterns for my beloved, who was the only person in the house who didn’t have any handmade undies – he was sceptical but they fitted perfectly and he wants to know when the rest are coming…

Finally, I gave in and made some face coverings after the lovely Patrick Grant launched The Big Community Sew project – I used leftover fabric from my red quilt (which still isn’t bound) and from Thing 2’s shaggy pants, and some fat quarters from the stash. Luckily I also had some elastic, as that’s proving hard to source at the moment. I chose the McCalls face covering pattern as it looked pretty straighforward. I whipped up ten – not perfect but they’ll do the job.

Face coverings

I made another Greenstyle Centerfield top, using plain black jersey and a printed jersey I bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show a few years ago and have had in the stash. I bought it as I thought it had sheep on it, but it turns out to be alpacas so at least I’m on trend. This is a DREAM to sew and comes together in less than an hour’s sewing time. I chose the plain scoop neckline rather than a hood this time round, so it was superspeedy. And SO comfortable – particularly with the MBJM Patterns Four Seasons joggers that I used the rest of my black jersey on. I love MBJM patterns, they are so versatile – I made these in capri length with phone pockets, but you can also choose three other lengths, two waistbands, a faux drawstring and another pocket style.

Finally, we have been lucky with the wildlife this week – I’ll leave you with our regular badger, and see you at the end of week nine.

Kirsty x

What I’ve been reading

Jump! – Jilly Cooper

Home School – Charles Webb

Mrs Bradshaw’s Handbook – Terry Pratchett

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